Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies (TRS 101)
This course introduces students to the academic study of religion by exploring the various ways individuals and communities articulate their experience of the divine. We will move from a general consideration of the nature of religious experience to the ways in which this experience takes shape in various sacred scriptures, traditions, theologies, and moral claims. (NOTE: This section qualifies as a Catholic Studies course. As such, it gives special emphasis to the Catholic Christian religious tradition, but with a generous openness to other religious traditions and all points of view.)
Contemporary Catholic Theology (TRS 231)
This course offers an overview of contemporary issues in Roman Catholic theology. It encourages a critical and constructive engagement with central Catholic doctrines, communal structures, sacramental practices, and moral teachings.
Catholicism in a Digital Age (TRS 235)
This course studies the theological significance of the digital revolution for the Catholic experience of faith, with particular emphasis on communication technologies and their implications for the Roman Catholic Church as a global religious institution. The course will briefly survey the historical impact of technological innovation on the church and then explore in greater depth several theological topics currently being rethought in light of technological change. These topics include the nature of religious practice and ritual, new forms of church community, the process of religious instruction, the role of religious authority, and new ethical questions arising out of an increasingly interconnected world.
Church and Ministry (TRS 236)
This course studies the theology of church and ministry. Taking into account the biblical background and historical developments, the course focuses on issues and ideas surrounding ministry today. With an emphasis on the Roman Catholic experience, the course locates ministry and church mission within a broadly Christian ecumenical perspective.
Saints and Society (TRS 299)
This course studies the theological significance of saints in the Roman Catholic Tradition. Together we will explore the history of saints and saint-making, paying particular attention to the ways in which changing historical, social, and cultural contexts impact Christian views of holiness. Topics include the origins of the cult of the saints, changing models of sanctity, ritual and devotional practices, the process and politics of canonization, and the implications of the veneration of saints for a theological treatment of God, the church, and the human person.
What Happened at Vatican II (TRS 399)
The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) was one of the most significant religious events of the twentieth century. Its influence is still felt in virtually every area of Catholic life. This course studies the Second Vatican Council as a historical, sociological, and theological event. It explores what happened at Vatican II—paying particular attention to both the causes and the effects of the council in the life of the Roman Catholic Church.
Introduction to Systematic Theology (TRS 430)
Systematic theology is an area of theology that explores the meaning and interrelationship of important doctrines within a particular religious tradition. This course is an introduction to Catholic systematic theology. It will examine several key concepts (revelation, faith, scripture, tradition, community, and method) and then explore how these concepts play out in a few significant theologians from the premodern (Thomas Aquinas), modern (Karl Rahner), and postmodern (Johann Baptist Metz and various theologians of liberation) periods. Beginning with the assumption that all theology is contextual, the course will locate these thinkers within their different historical and cultural worlds—with the goal of inviting students to reflect on what it means to do theology out of their own unique commitments, contexts, and life experiences.